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Arthur Fletcher

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Information about Arthur Fletcher

Profile image of Arthur Fletcher

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Federal Government Appointee
Foundation Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Kansas
Favorite Quote:
It is a very poor dog that won't wag his own tail.

Birthplace

Born:
12/22/1924
Birth Location:
Phoenix, Arizona

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Federal Government Appointee
Foundation Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Kansas
Favorite Quote:
It is a very poor dog that won't wag his own tail.

Birthplace

Born:
12/22/1924
Birth Location:
Phoenix
See how Arthur Fletcher is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Civil rights activist and affirmative action champion Arthur A. Fletcher was born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1924. As a child, Fletcher's parents moved frequently. Fletcher graduated from high school in Junction City, Kansas; from there he attended Washburn University, earning degrees in political science and sociology. Fletcher later went on to earn his law degree and his Ph.D. in education.

Fletcher organized his first civil rights protest while still in high school after being told that African American student photographs would be included in the back of the yearbook. After graduating from high school, Fletcher served in World War II under General George Patton and earned a Purple Heart. Fletcher joined the Los Angeles Rams in 1950 and later became the first African American to play for the Baltimore Colts.

Fletcher entered politics in 1954, when he worked on Fred Hall's gubernatorial campaign, and took a position working for the Kansas Highway Commission; he took the knowledge of government contracts he gained there to encourage African American businesses to bid on contracts. After moving to Washington, Fletcher worked a number of government jobs, eventually becoming the special assistant to the governor in 1969. That same year, President Richard Nixon appointed Fletcher to the office of assistant secretary of wage and labor standards in the Department of Labor. While serving in this capacity, Fletcher devised the Philadelphia Plan, which enforced equal employment and business opportunities for minorities. In 1972, Fletcher joined the United Negro College Fund as executive director, and coined its slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Fletcher later returned to government service when President Gerald Ford appointed him to the office of deputy of urban affairs. In this role, Fletcher came to be known as the father of the affirmative action enforcement movement.

Fletcher was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1990, where he served until 1993 as chairman and a commissioner. In 1996, prompted by Senator Bob Dole's reversal of his forty-year affirmative action policy, Fletcher made a run for the presidency; he later became president and CEO of Fletcher's Learning Systems and publisher of USA Tomorrow/The Fletcher Letter.

Fletcher spent a great deal of time touring the country for speaking engagements on equal opportunity rights and the benefits of affirmative action, and served as the chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Fletcher wrote several articles that appeared in magazines such as Ebony and Fortune, in addition to authoring a book entitled My Hour of Power.

Arthur A. Fletcher passed away on July 12, 2005; he was survived by his wife, Bernyce Fletcher.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Arthur Fletcher interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Arthur Fletcher's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Arthur Fletcher describes his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Arthur Fletcher talks about growing up in a military environment
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Arthur Fletcher describes his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Arthur Fletcher recalls his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Arthur Fletcher talks about his brother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Arthur Fletcher remembers his childhood in Langston, Oklahoma
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Arthur Fletcher describes the impact of the G.I. Bill of Rights
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Arthur Fletcher talks about his childhood interest in the trumpet and in jazz
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Arthur Fletcher discusses former Buffalo Soldiers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Arthur Fletcher details his early educational career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Arthur Fletcher talks about his childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Arthur Fletcher remembers being influenced by Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Arthur Fletcher discusses his athletic abilities and experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Arthur Fletcher explains the integration policies of Kansas schools in the 1940s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Arthur Fletcher recalls encountering racism while playing sports in Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Arthur Fletcher tells of memorable teachers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Arthur Fletcher remembers his football career at Fort Knox
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Arthur Fletcher talks about his musical involvement in the military
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Arthur Fletcher discusses D-Day and the invasion of Europe during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Arthur Fletcher details experiences as a combat MP in World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Arthur Fletcher tells of his post-military plans
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Arthur Fletcher explains his decision to attend Washburn University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Arthur Fletcher discusses his reasons for studying political science
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Arthur Fletcher explains his involvement with the Republican Party
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Arthur Fletcher details his role in the establishment of the Civil Rights Commission
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Arthur Fletcher talks about his professional football career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Arthur Fletcher recalls the racial climate during his professional football career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Arthur Fletcher tells of his various career moves after playing professional football
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Arthur Fletcher explains his early political involvement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Arthur Fletcher talks about his position with the Kansas Highway Commission
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Arthur Fletcher discusses Fred Hall's gubernatorial campaign
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Arthur Fletcher recalls a dark period in his family life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Arthur Fletcher talks about his successes in educational reform, part 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Arthur Fletcher details his successes in educational reform, part 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Arthur Fletcher explains his involvement in an urban renewal project
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Arthur Fletcher tells of his campaign for lieutenant governor of Washington
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Arthur Fletcher discusses his position within the Department of Labor
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Arthur Fletcher explains why he revised the Philadelphia Plan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Arthur Fletcher shares his thoughts on affirmative action
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Arthur Fletcher stresses the importance of continued progress in diversity and affirmative action
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Arthur Fletcher explains the importance of the Community Reinvestment Act
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Arthur Fletcher talks about problems with the Community Reinvestment Act
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Arthur Fletcher talks about his involvement with the United Negro College Fund
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Arthur Fletcher discusses Gerald Ford's commitment to affirmative action
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Arthur Fletcher gives his thoughts on the current status of the Republican Party
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Arthur Fletcher talks about being an African American Republican
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Arthur Fletcher shares his hopes for the black community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Arthur Fletcher explains how he helps the black community from within the Republican Party
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Arthur Fletcher considers his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Arthur Fletcher reflects on his life